I'm still pregnant. The Deuce is still alive. Appears to be rapidly running out of room, judging by the simultaneously punching of my pubic bone and kicking of my ribs, but hey, at least we're head down!
I'm not sleeping very well. (Not a complaint; just a fact.) I wake up around 3am to pee and even if the Deuce is squirming around reassuringly, I have a hard time getting back to sleep. I can't turn off my brain. Sometimes I have to get my phone and do a kick count. Other times I just get out of bed and go watch TV in the living room. I can usually fall back asleep around 5am and get in a couple more hours before I'm up for the day. Maybe my body is just practicing for being up and down with a newborn? I hope so.
We took a big leap on Sunday and brought in some of Eliza's things that had been packed away. After she died, we dismantled her entire nursery and packed away all baby things--I didn't want to see a single one of them. It was also a practical move, since we have a two bedroom house and the nursery was quickly converted back to a guest room for my parents to spend some time with us over Christmas. The guest room remains a guest room for the time being. I will not set up a nursery until there is a baby to put in it. But I decided that it made sense to go through at least some of the baby things that were all in storage bins. We had labeled and organized them at the time, but nothing had been washed and so many things were still in packages with tags on them. Part of me wanted to wait until the Deuce was born, but I don't want our first days home with the Deuce to be focused on sorting and unpacking baby things. So I decided to buck up and go through the bins now.
I knew it would be hard, but it was even harder than I thought it would be. To see all of those little things that belonged to her... that we had purchased just for her... that I had chosen so carefully... I had been so happy, digging through consignment shops, counting the months to guess what size for what season so that I could buy ahead when things were on sale. It brought back the memories of being so confident that she would come home with us, and what felt like a new shock of realizing that she would never, ever use these things. Even though I think about her all the time, in a strange way it made her feel so real, to touch all of these tangible, material items that were hers. Her little ducky socks, still in the gift box. Her little Cardinals onesies. I only got out the bin of unisex clothes, which were all smaller sizes, mostly all yellow sleep sacks and onesies with ducks on them, bought for our "Baby Duck" before we knew her gender (so confident that 15 weeks pregnant = baby to bring home!). I was caught off guard in the cloth-diaper-and-wipes-bin by how many pink cloth diapers we had (I thought I'd mostly bought unisex colors but obviously had gotten excited about girl-baby pink). And there was the softest little green blanket--the kind of baby blanket that David had when he was little and called his "hane," and we had laughed about how this one would be Baby Duck's hane. So then I hugged Eliza's "hane" and ugly cried all over everything and ended up walking away and leaving the bins sitting in our dining room all day Sunday and most of Monday.
Yesterday evening, I took a deep breath and did some sorting. I'm not dragging out cloth diapers yet (we plan to use disposables for the first few days). I'm not washing crib sheets yet (because we're not setting up a crib--just a pack 'n play sleeper in our bedroom). I'm not unpacking baby books, picture frames, nursery decorations, or toys (except for a couple of rattles and a soft duckie).
I gathered my natural childbirth books and threw them away (actually, I think David put them in the donation pile--I just told him I didn't want to ever see them again). It's not that those books were wrong, or that I wouldn't prefer to have a med-free natural birth again (with a different outcome, obviously). It's just that those books represent such a naive and smug moment in my life. A Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth. Makes me want to vomit. This "thinking woman" never once thought her baby might die.
I threw away our workbook and folder from our childbirth class. It felt good to toss that in the dumpster, as I still have a lot of resentment about how militant our class instructor was and all of the guilt and worry she made me feel during that pregnancy. (I can promise you I'm not consuming 100 grams of protein a day, and Deuce is doing just fine). Not to mention the fact that Eliza died halfway through the class and I think the decent thing to do would have been to refund at least a portion of our rather steep class fee. (She did not do so.)
But I managed to sort out a pile of baby blankets and pack-in-play sheets, a pile of yellow and white baby clothes, and an assortment of baby slings, nursing covers, burp cloths, and little toys. I even felt pretty good about putting the first load in the washing machine. I want SO MUCH to use these things for the Deuce, and it brings me a lot of happiness to think about putting a baby in a duckie onesie (those I think are much easier for me to handle than the little girl clothes, which I didn't even look at).
As I was folding them out of the dryer, though, I felt another wave of sadness. Like I was somehow erasing Eliza by using these things for her little brother or sister. They wouldn't be put away, untouched, unopened, unused. They would be worn and played with and spit up on and slept on by another baby. And then they wouldn't be hers anymore. And that made me sad. I mean, she means so much to us but we have such fragile little evidence that she was alive at all.
On the other hand, it also made me sad that there was a sweet little "My First St. Patrick's Day" sleeper in with her things that my mom had picked up on sale (we don't actually have a strong Irish heritage or anything) that the Deuce won't be able to wear. It's size 3 months. It was just for Eliza, my winter baby. And we may never have a baby to put in that sleeper.
I still have four bins full of baby things in the dining room because I only pulled out what I knew we would need at the very first, and it still felt like a very dangerous way to tempt fate. But now I have teensy yellow clothes hanging in the guest-room closet, washed and ready to go. I have blankets folded up in bins on the closet shelf. (One thing about not setting up a nursery is that you don't actually have many places to put baby's things... So we're getting creative with closet space until we bring in the baby dresser).
In the end, I'm glad I went through them. It's not like ignoring them would have helped. I cried a lot, but I'm glad I got it out of the way now, while I'm not distracted by the Deuce. I know it wouldn't have been any easier or any less sad if I'd done it with a new baby sleeping next to me. Yes, we'll be overjoyed to have a baby home with us, but it's not like that fixes the fact that we have another baby who isn't here.
We bought wicker patio furniture on Sunday. It was a Craigslist purchase and we drove out to a nice subdivision in the county to pick it up. The very nice lady selling the furniture asked if this was our first baby. We were somewhat prepared for this because we'd had a similar experience just the week before when I bought a baby swing off Craigslist. I told the swing lady, "Well, it will be." And then I got in the car and burst into tears. So this time I said, "No, it's our second." And she followed up with, "Oh! How old is your first?"
Dead for eighteen months, thanks for asking.
I told her that we lost Eliza at 34 weeks and she was very sweet and sympathetic and didn't say anything shitty. Turns out she's a pediatric nurse. She really was very kind. David and I said on the way home that we totally should have gotten her to come down on the price of the furniture after that exchange...
Pardon the gallows humor. Sometimes we laugh so we don't cry, you know?
(Unrelated: She also asked David if he worked at Club Fitness. WTH? I'm sure he'll let that go to his head... Haha.)
Yesterday we had a growth ultrasound and non-stress test for the Deuce. Both went well. Deuce is measuring in the 38th percentile, which my doctor assured me was fine (somehow you just want your kid in the upper half of everything, you know?). My OB seems to sense this about me, as he specifically said to me that these percentiles are not grades. (Oh, he knows me well. Perhaps because he sees me twice a week every week!). Deuce's head is actually measuring slightly above (in the 50s, a clear indication of Mensa brain, FYI) but abdomen and femur length are in the 30s and 40s (which is FINE, so says my OB). One of my good friends had a baby measuring in the 20-something percentile on ultrasounds who ended up being a solid 8-pounder when he was born (on his due date), so I'm trying to remind myself that these are estimations, and that the Deuce is healthy and that's the only thing that matters.
The high-risk doctor who looked at my ultrasound told me he doesn't think I need another growth ultrasound. In fact, he said, "The next time this baby is weighed, it will be on a scale."
It's hard to believe that we're down to a few weeks before we meet the Deuce.
We still haven't set an induction date. My plan so far is to wait and see, and then re-evaluate if/when I make it to 39 weeks. There is a big part of me that would like to set a date so that some of the responsibility is shifted somewhere else, but I feel more comfortable with closely monitoring and waiting to see if the Deuce gets things moving on his/her own. I've started having really noticeable contractions, so I'm really hoping that the Deuce will come along right at 39 weeks and save me from having to make a decision (That would be June 24th, if you're wondering. Anytime that week would be fine by me, actually.) As much as I want to meet this baby, I'm hoping he/she holds out for at least another couple of weeks, since David has jury duty starting June 11th. That's an additional complication that we do NOT need.
Other things I want to remember...
I'm obsessed with that Talenti brand gelato that Target carries. The best flavor in the world is Sea Salt Caramel.
The chickens have figured out how to go in and out of their house to the pen (these are difficult lessons for teeny bird brains). They strut around now, and Cooper is obsessed with them even more than I'm obsessed with gelato. He runs circles around their pen, or quivers on point, his tail wagging, his tongue hanging out, just staring. When they go back in their house, he sits and stares at the house. For HOURS. I've never seem him like this before. We like to say that he is very devoted to his chikn sisters. When they get a little bigger, we'll let them out in the yard and put him on a leash and introduce them. I know they'll intimidate him with their wings and we want to make sure he is very respectful of the chikn sisters.
I'm feeling about 70/30 that it's a boy. I really don't know, but if I had to guess, that's what I'd bet on.
We're watching the 3-part Hatfields and McCoys series that was on the History Channel. Last night a bunch of Hatfields killed three McCoy boys. Mr. McCoy was visiting his cousin, who asked him how Mrs. McCoy was doing after the death of her sons.
Mr. McCoy said, "Poorly. How would you expect?"
The cousin replied, "Women are fortunate to get special consideration. If I curled up into a ball at every tragic event, I'd never get any work done."
McCoy stared at him and said, "Quit talking like an imbecile. You've never lost your sons."
That conversation might not be historically accurate, but McCoy's words are still true.